sept 3

Tagum City Councilor Nicandro Suaybaguio Jr. has defended his proposed ordinance stopping urban poor housing for five years, which critics charged as “anti-urban poor”.

In an interview with Sidlak, he said that on the contrary his measure “is meant to protect the welfare of the urban poor”.

With the measure, Suaybaguio has already drawn critics including Davao del Norte 1st District Cong. Arrel Olano.

He said that he came up with the proposed ordinance to protect the urban poor from being

“taken advantaged of” by their unscrupulous leaders and “to put order” to the urban poor housing projects that he said have been suffering of “low occupancy” along with the underdevelopment of some 31 urban poor housing sites in the city.

He said that about a half of these subdivision projects for the urban poor have only about 60-percent occupancy.

Suaybaguio added that existing urban poor subdivisions are usually suffering from lack of basic facilities and services such as access roads, drainage, water system, electricity and others.

He also bared that substitution of rights on lots made by unscrupulous urban poor leaders in many of the sites ended the lots supposedly intended for the poor at the hands of moneyed people.

But other sources told Sidlak that Suaybaguio’s proposed ordinance is actually giving “undue bias and advantage” to rich real estate and housing developers in the city.

The proponent said that from 15 years of deferment on the issuance of accreditation and approval of development plans to urban poor associations in the city he has reduced it to 5 years after making consultations with various stakeholders including shelter-involved national government agencies, CMP originators and the urban poor federation in the city.

He said though that his ordinance may not reach 5 years in implementation saying that the deferment could immediately be lifted as soon as the urban poor housing sites having low occupancy could reach to about 95-percent occupancy.

Suaybaguio’s legislative measure will however cover all new applications of urban poor associations and particularly exempted from coverage 11 urban poor homeowners associations, which will be given a maximum of one year to process their necessary requirements and permits.

He also bared that he is also working out the city’s local housing code which he will submit by December.

Suaybaguio is up against the thrust of the national government in helping the urban poor acquire lands but leaving them at the mercy of politicians in developing these with adequate facilities and services.

His measure, he said, aims to develop the existing urban poor communities adding that this in line with the thrust of the city government to provide decent housing units and fully developed resettlement and housing for the informal settlers and marginalized residents in the city.

In text message on Monday, Suaybaguio said that that on the coming Monday session he  would be submitting his measure for readings before the city council.(Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)


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